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#11210 - 03 Jul 06 04:18 Somalis wary of 'Bin Laden' tape
Magpie Offline

Registered: 29 Mar 06
Posts: 1306
Loc: The Toon
The powerful Islamist movement in Somalia has distanced itself from comments about Somalia attributed to al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden.
An internet audio recording warned the West not to send troops to Somalia.

But a leader of the Union of Islamic Courts, which has taken control of the capital, Mogadishu, said they did not rely on any outside group.

The US has accused one Islamic leader, Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys, of links to al-Qaeda and involvement with terror.

Mr Aweys denies the US allegations, saying the case against him was built by enemies from within Ethiopia.

Speaking to reporters in Mogadishu, Sheikh Sharif Ahmed, also a figurehead of the Islamic Courts, said Bin Laden was expressing his personal opinion in the audio recording, which has not been verified.

Somalia's Islamists have regularly denied harbouring al-Qaeda fighters in their ranks.


As well as warning against the introduction of Western troops, the speaker on the audio recording released on Saturday also called on all Somalis to back attempts to build an Islamic state.

Since Islamic Courts militias banished secular warlords from Mogadishu last month, Somalia is suddenly of much greater interest to al-Qaeda and Bin Laden, BBC Africa analyst David Bamford notes.

But Mogadishu's new rulers have been at pains to convince Washington and regional African governments that they pose no threat, despite their Islamic leanings, and want to bring stability to Somalia, our correspondent adds.

Diplomats have suggested there is a new window of opportunity to secure peace in Somalia, after 15 years without a functioning central government.

The interim government, based in the city of Baidoa, has called for international peacekeepers to be sent to the country.
"People say funny things......."

Peter Kay

#11211 - 03 Jul 06 04:20 Re: Somalis wary of 'Bin Laden' tape
Magpie Offline

Registered: 29 Mar 06
Posts: 1306
Loc: The Toon
Life under Mogadishu's new rulers

Unemployed Mogadishu resident Mohammed Abdirahman tells the BBC News website about life in Somalia's capital since Islamist militias seized overall control.

There have been a few improvements in Mogadishu where the Islamic Courts are fully in control.
But although the Islamist militias may have captured Mogadishu, they have done little to improve our security.

There are still checkpoints which belong to clan militias. The Islamists did not take steps to dismantle the checkpoints - at least in my area of south Mogadishu.

Daily life resumes

But trade has become easier. People are going about their daily lives, going to the market, setting up business. Near Bakara market, the Courts control the main street and people are happy as security is in a good state there.

And people can buy homes and cars and there is some functioning administration. A few of the people who fled their houses during the fighting have returned. But people are very concerned about the future of our city.

Anything can happen in Mogadishu and at any moment fighting could break out again

I remember when the Islamist militia came. I could hear the artilleries and the mortars. I went to the hospital and saw many dead and injured.

I was in great fear and I still do not trust the Islamic Courts.

But we had five years of anarchy with every man wanting to be the king of his own area, not thinking of the common man. So people are happy that the factions have come to an end.

I live with my aunt and she is very happy at the arrival of the Islamic Courts because they come with Islamic morality. The old warlords were truly hated. There is now one party in Mogadishu and it is Islam.

She expects peace to come soon.

Security fears

However, there is still a little fighting, still fear and unhappiness.

They will shoot you if you do not give everything up

The Islamists may be the big power in the city but society is where the danger lies. So many have guns, knives - at night people do whatever they want.

I still see some clan militias, I see children with guns.

Soldiers in the street did bring some peace and security, the Islamic Courts have brought some relief. But no administration can disarm these criminals.

They walk about the streets and ask you for your possessions - they will shoot you if you do not give everything up. I only hope crime becomes a priority.

The Islamic checkpoints will stop you and check for arms. The other checkpoints ask for money and unless you pay, you cannot travel on that highway.

In my sector, residents and elders get together and manage their own security. Every morning each house pays 1,000 Somali shillings - enough to pay a militia's wages - and we get an independent militia to provide security at night.

So life is still difficult for us and nobody can predict what will come - there will be good, there will be bad. All I can say is that we need freedom and democracy to be truly happy.
"People say funny things......."

Peter Kay


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